Tuesday, March 22, 2016
Prize watch: the Koren Prize (aka, Department of Aww Shucks)
Posted by Christopher Moore
About 25 years ago, the history department at the University of Toronto had a sudden gap to fill and, fresh from my 1600-1763 contribution to the Illustrated History of Canada, I taught the French Canada survey, almost the only time I did any formal university undergraduate teaching.
I enjoyed it mostly, at least as a one-time thing, and enjoyed the students a lot (after having been warned several times by other faculty: students these days are lazy, ill-prepared, concerned only about getting an adequate grade blah blah blah.) Being new and doing my best to read all the departmental memos that came around, I learned the history department gave an annual prize for best undergraduate essay. So when one of my students submitted what seemed to me a pretty terrific essay -- on New France-indigenous relations, no easy topic -- I entered it.
Hey, it won. My student got a lunch, a small cash prize too, I think.
Today my inbox tells me that this year something called the Koren Prize, given for the best journal article on any aspect of French history by a North American scholar, has gone to an essay in New France-indigenous relations. Same author: Peter Cook, now Professor Peter Cook of the University of Victoria history department. His prize-winning article was in the Canadian Historical Review last year; you can access it via the link above.)
Congratulations and credit are all his, of course. But maybe I did sorta know what I was doing back then.